ERP Security Vulnerabilities Call for Rigorous Solutions
Learn why enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions are at risk of cyberattack and what security protocols should be in place to protect data and systems.
If your business uses enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, you understand the synergy, integration and transparency it affords every use. It’s that same functionality that makes your ERP a prime target for hackers.
The ERP’s greatest benefit is also its biggest vulnerability — the collection and storage of data within one system. The single source of data truth lets businesses make better decisions quickly but also makes those systems highly desirable to hackers.
Understanding how to protect an ERP solution, whether installed on-premises or used in the cloud, can save you the disruption and expense of a data breach.
Here are some of the most common ERP security issues and how to prevent them.
What Can We Do to Protect our ERP?
One of the most important things your business can do to protect your ERP data is to be disciplined in applying software updates, upgrades and patches. These tweaks to your apps often contain security provisions to respond to emerging threats. Delaying the application of or failing to apply these improvements to your ERP and any connected systems increase the likelihood that a hacker could gain access to functionality and data.
What ERP Protections Do We Need for Cloud-Based Solutions?
Cloud-based ERPs offer major advantages over on=premises solutions, including the ability to scale quickly and be accessed on any device anywhere at any time. However, your business needs to be sure to shield web-accessible data generated by or stored in your ERP. Insecure ERPs, especially older models, are vulnerable to attack by hackers who exploit the accessibility of these apps to compromise data.
How Do We Control Connectivity to Our ERP?
An ERP is designed to be accessible to many people at the same time. Providing access to your ERP is important … but how you provide access is more critical. You need to be sure there are rigorous password rules in place, that passwords are changed often, and that you realize passwords are just the beginning. Good password hygiene includes the following:
- A combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols
- Unique passwords for each application
- Password management software to generate and store passwords
To protect your ERP, you need to use multifactor authentication that uses at least two methods. The password is a known credential that the user has selected. Adding a second, unknown credential, such as a texted or emailed alphanumeric code, makes it that much harder for hackers to gain access.
How Should We Manage Access Within our ERP?
Access control is an important security consideration. Controlling what employees can access is essential to keep your ERP safe. You can configure access controls by the individual, work function, group or other configurations. A good rule of thumb is to limit access to the minimum information and systems necessary for each employee or group to get their assigned work done. Liberal access policies only make it that much easier for a hacker who successfully infiltrates your ERP to get access to data.
Another approach to access management is to limit access to users only connecting to the network from behind a firewall or via a VPN connection.
What Happens to Other Systems?
The greatest benefit of using an ERP is the ability to integrate data from multiple systems. However, if your company continues to have a Frankenstein approach to your technology strategy, with a patchworked collection of systems, you’re at increased risk. Often these other apps are used outside of the approved business practices. With each additional app accessing, using and storing your data, you risk additional expose to attack.
Having data stored redundantly in multiple systems, especially those that are not subject to the same rigorous security provisions as your ERP, is a self-defeating approach to data security.
How Can My Employees Better Understand ERP Security?
Employees are one of the greatest risks to network security, even though in most instances it’s not intentional acts that cause damage. Employees need to be informed, educated and aware of the most common ways hackers gain access to systems and data. That means having training that focuses on the importance of password protection, how to spot a phishing attempt and why updates and upgrades are necessary. Training should be extensive for new employees who are unfamiliar with the way your organization operates, but should also include ongoing reminders, information shared about new features and tests on employee comprehension and compliance.
Where Can We Find Expertise in ERP Security?
At 360 Smart Networks, we help companies throughout Atlanta and the Southeast with a multilayered managed security solution that protects ERP systems. Learn more about our security services by contacting us today.